Scouts follow history in Trail of Churches

CHARLESTON—The Catholic Committee on Scouting and the Knights of Columbus sponsored a novel way to teach church history with the Trail of Churches Camporee.

Scouts walked to specific locations on peninsular Charleston, met a historical figure, learned about the deep roots of their faith and earned a patch.

Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Crews, and Squires of all faiths were invited. Younger children took a four-mile hike, with many breaks, while older groups walked about six miles.

Scouts trekked to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Sacred Heart, St. Patrick and St. Mary of the Annunciation churches, the Knights of Columbus hall, and the St. Katherine Drexel house. At each location they learned about its history and two commandments.

The youth met Bishops John England and Patrick N. Lynch, Blessed Michael J. McGivney, St. Katherine Drexel, and Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, who offered anecdotes about themselves and what the diocese was like during their lives.

The Scouts also viewed artifacts such as Bishop England’s chalice and another given by Pope John Paul II to Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoefler at the Cathedral. At the Office of Archives, they saw episcopal rings, vestments and historical documents.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone opened his residence for Scouts to tour and celebrated Mass for them.

The bishop, who was celebrating the second anniversary of his episcopal ordination, also had breakfast with six Scouts who will go to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M., in July.

About 320 youth and adults participated, according to Jim Weiskircher, Scouting committee chair. He said the event was created because children don’t learn about the history of their faith in South Carolina at school and the committee wanted to bring it to life for them.

Dick Koehler, a Scout and member of the Knights of Columbus, chaired the event.

Weiskircher was one of the actors, portraying Cardinal Bernardin, and Father Jeffrey F. Kirby, Scout chaplain, took on the role of the Venerable Father McGivney. Crew 115 taught the 10 commandments.

Retired U.S. Army Col. John Halloran, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, also attended the event to show his support and speak to the participants.